Chapter five contains a partial enumeration of the blessings which are fruits of such a faith as that portrayed in chapter four. It shows the Christian development of the life of anyone who has the faith of Abraham. Two words form the keynote of the chapter--much more. If you have the glory, the patience, or the Christian experience spoken of in this, or any other chapter, know that God has them in store and is willing to give much more, for He "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."
"Therefore being justified by faith," that is, being made conformable to the law by faith, "we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." The only way that man can be made conformable to the law and live free from condemnation is by having faith in the promises of God. In Christ there is no unrighteousness, therefore there is nothing but righteousness. By believing on Christ, the Christian has the righteousness of Christ.
But does not James say that there must be works or the faith is of no avail? It is true that faith is made perfect by works. James 2:22. But it is by faith and faith alone that men are justified. The very text which speaks of Abraham's being justified by faith, states that the works were only the outgrowth of underlying faith and that by this work the scripture was fulfilled which says: "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness." Works are the outgrowth of faith. "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." We give ourselves into the hands of Christ. He comes and takes up His abode with us. We are as clay in the hands of the potter, but it is Christ who does all the good works and to Him belongs all the glory.
"We have peace with God." What is peace? It is not a feeling, but a fact. Many think that they must experience a "certain feeling" which they will know is the "peace of God." But they have never had the peace of God, and therefore cannot know what kind of feeling it ought to be. Satan might give a certain happy feeling, and if the Christian had only the feeling to go by, he would be deceived. The Lord does not deal in feelings but in facts. Peace is the opposite of war, strife, emulation. We are either at peace with God or else at war. If at war, it is because we are carrying on rebellion.
How do men fight God? By following sinful practices. Anyone knowingly indulging in one sinful practice is warring against God. God is a God of peace. Christ left His peace with His followers. "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts." Between God and His dear Son in heaven there is a "counsel of peace." They counsel for the peace of man. There is only one condition on which man can have that peace--unconditional surrender, surrender all to God and then there is peace in the heart, no matter what the feeling may be.
"Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them." "O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea." What rich comfort in these words! Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday and today and forever." So His peace is likened to the continual flowing of the river and the never-ceasing roll of the ocean wave; therefore it matters not what the feeling is for if all sins have been confessed God is faithful and just to forgive them and we are at peace with Him. The condition of peace is the condition of being justified by faith.
"By whom [Christ] also we have access by faith into this grace [unmerited forgiveness and favor] in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Righteousness can be wrought in men day by day by the same power by which Isaac was born of parents who were practically dead. When people once gain this experience, the next thing, they will be constrained to rejoice in the hope of the coming of the Lord.
How often do we look forward to the coming of the Lord with fear? If we do not rejoice in the Lord in the present life, we have no hope that we will rejoice in Him in a life to come. Why should Christians "rejoice in hope of the glory of God?" Because they are at peace with Him. Seventh-day Adventists are bidden "when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." We praise Him that He is coming soon; it is one of the most glorious and cheering assurances we have.
We live in the present, not in the future. Read 1 Peter 1:5-9. Salvation belongs to us today just as much as it will when in the kingdom of God. No one but ourselves can deprive us of it. Says Peter, "Receiving [present time] the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." Our present salvation is our only hope of a future salvation. "Kept by the power of God" is the expression used by Peter, and it denotes precisely the same condition--"being justified by faith"--in the fifth chapter of Romans.
The same power that will make men immortal in the life to come, justifies them--makes them conformable to the law--by being in harmony with it, every day. Says Paul in the letter to the Philippians, chapter three, and verse twenty-one: "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself."
In Ephesians 3:16, Paul in an inspired prayer prays that they might be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, according to "the riches of His glory." The grace of God is equal to the glory of God. God's throne is a throne of glory and the grace wherein we stand is backed by the glory of God.
"We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience." Some say that tribulation worketh impatience. This is not true. If a man is not justified by faith, tribulation will develop the impatience that is in him. How is it, then, that tribulation worketh patience? Let these texts answer: "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." 1 Peter 5:7. "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee." Psalm 55:22. "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.
He takes the heavy loads away. What is that burden? Anything that worries or vexes us. It matters not whether it be a small thing--a little trial--or a great one. Cast it on the Lord. We rejoice in tribulation because we have Christ with us, and we cast all the burden on Him. He is able to bear them. He has already borne them for all the world, so we cannot add to His burden.
How do we get rid of the burdens? Give them to Christ and then say, "He has them." And He has them whether you feel any different or not. Then you will experience the truth of the words, "I will give you rest." It is rest even though the physical pain still racks the body. For Christ bears that tribulation, and you are lifted up above all pain.
How did the martyrs go to the rack and the stake with songs of joy on their lips? Was that mere bravado? No, Christ bore their burden and in Him they had peace. Out of a full heart they sang their praise to Him. Thus they were happy and joyous and scarcely noticed the pain while the flames crept around them. We will have to "pass through great tribulation." It may be the lash on the naked flesh or it may be the thumb screw. Human nature shrinks from such torture. In Christ we can bear it. Gain an experience in Him now and in the trying time He will not forsake you. He can bear that great burden as well as a small one.
Christ will be ours then as well as now, and the life we live will be in Him. No man in this world will be able to stand in that time unless he has previously learned the lesson of faith. Now is the time, while the lesson may be learned under easy circumstances. Great as will be the tribulation of that time we will pass through it with rejoicing. That rejoicing must be learned now.
"Let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect, wanting nothing." Patience shows us to be perfect men.
"Patience worketh experience." It is a Christian experience that is referred to. "Experience" signifies that men who have it have been proved and tried. They have laid hold upon God and proved Him.
Experience, or the fact that we daily prove God, develops hope--hope in God. If God is proven every day, then every day there is hope. That is, we have reason to expect the things we desire. We have present salvation, therefore we glory in the hope of an eternal salvation. This is indeed a chapter of hope and rejoicing.
Study No. 8; Romans 5:6-9
One motive only should actuate the minds of those who study the word of God and that is that they may by this study be drawn nearer to God. God is no respecter of persons. He will give His Holy Spirit to any and to all who ask for it. He is just as willing to make the truths of the Bible plain to one as to another. Peace and light may come into your hearts from what is spoken from the desk; but if you do not know the word for yourselves, that peace and light will not stay with you. The Holy Spirit spoke the words of the Bible, and it is only by the aid of the Holy Spirit that it can be understood. Any man who will submit himself to the Holy Spirit may understand the Bible for himself.
There is but one true help to the Bible--the Spirit of God. If you get your ideas about Christ and His work from the writings of other men, you get it second hand at best. Draw your light straight from the Bible. Learn the Bible from the Bible itself. When our minds are illuminated by the Holy Spirit, although the word will appear simple, at the same time there will be heights and depths to it that will fill us with amazement. All eternity will be spent in studying the plan of salvation and the longer we study the more we will find to study.
Last evening our study brought us to the close of the fifth verse of the fifth chapter. We will commence this evening at the sixth.
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." Mark the words "without strength." There was a fixed time in the history of the world when Christ was offered on the cross of Calvary. But that was not the only time when Christ availed for the ungodly. Who are the ungodly? They are those who are "without strength." The human family has been without strength from the fall, and they are without strength today. When men find themselves without strength, Christ is to be lifted up, and He says that He will draw all men unto Him. So we can look to Jesus as a crucified and risen Saviour today, just as much as could the disciples.
We sometimes think that we look back to Christ and that the patriarchs and prophets looked forward to Him. Is it so? We look up to Christ and so did they. We look to Christ a loving Redeemer by our side, and so did they. Said Moses to the children of Israel: "It is not in heaven, that thou shouldst say, who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? . . . But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart that thou mayest do it." The Word, which was Christ the Redeemer, was nigh unto them, and He is nigh unto us.
They all drank of that spiritual Rock that went with them, and that Rock was Christ. The Israelites did not need to look forward to Christ. He was nigh unto them. He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is and ever has been a present Saviour to all who made Him so. He was a present Saviour to Abel. "By faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." "By faith" in what? In the Son of God, for there was no one else for him to have faith in. So it was that Enoch walked with Christ by faith. He did not look away beyond to some future time for the help of the Redeemer. Christ was to him a present Saviour, and they walked along together.
So in every age of the world, when men have felt themselves to be without strength, then Christ has been a Saviour to them. Notice how plain are the words: "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." Abel was without strength, and Christ died for him. Enoch was without strength, and Christ died for him. Abraham and Sarah were without strength, and Christ died for them. His death was a reality to all of these. How remarkably powerful was Christ to Abraham! That Christ, the Messiah not yet come and who was to come through Abraham, that very Messiah was so very powerful that faith in Him brought forth the son to Abraham and Sarah in order that He might come through that son. At every period of the earth's history, Christ has been a present Saviour to those who were "without strength."
"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die." The word in the original signifying "righteous," is a different word from the one which is rendered "good." The word righteous here means a man who is strictly honest and upright, but having nothing peculiarly lovable about him. Scarcely for such an one will anyone die. But for a "good" man, one who is kind and benevolent, who would give all he had to feed the poor and clothe the naked, for a man of this class some would even dare to die. This is the highest pitch to which human love attains. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13. But note the love of God. "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." We too often measure God and His love by ourselves and our love. The Lord through David said: "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself." The unregenerate heart treats as it is treated, and judges God by itself, but God's love is altogether different from human love; He loves His enemies.
How wonderful and how matchless is the love of God and to how great an extent was that love shown by the death of His dear Son! What had the world done to merit goodness at the hand of God? It had joined hands with the enemies of God; nothing but punishment was deserved. Some say they cannot accept Christ because they are not worthy. People who have been professed Christians for years will deprive themselves of the riches of God's grace because they say, "I am not worthy." That is true. They are not worthy. None of us are worthy. But God commended His love to us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Why did He die? To make us worthy; to make us complete in Him. The trouble with those who say that they are not worthy is that they do not feel half unworthy enough. If they felt "without strength," then the power of Christ could avail them. The whole secret of justification by faith and life and peace in Christ lies in believing the Bible. It is one thing to say we believe the Bible and another thing to take every word in it as if it had been spoken by the mouth of God to us individually.
In 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul says: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." That is exactly what He came for--to save sinners. "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Oh, that men would realize that they are without strength! When they reach that point, then they can have the strength of Christ. That is the strength that is worth something; it is worth everything.
It is a great thing to believe that Christ died for the ungodly. Sometimes we feel almost discouraged, the heavens seem like brass over our heads, and everything we do or say seems to come back in our faces as if it were worth nothing. We think our prayers do not ascend higher than our heads. What will you do at such a time? You must thank God. "Thank Him for what? I have no blessing; I don't feel that I am His child at all; what will I thank Him for?" Thank Him that Christ died for the ungodly. If it does not mean much to you the first time you repeat the words, repeat them again. Then light will soon come in. You feel that you are one of the ungodly; then the promise is yours that Christ has died for you. You are there before Him on your knees because you are a sinner, so you can have the benefit of His death. What is the benefit of that death? "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Many act and talk as if Christ was dead and irrecoverably dead. Yes, He died, but He rose again and lives forever more. Christ is not in Joseph's new tomb. We have a risen Saviour. What does the death of Christ do for us? Reconciles us to God. It is the death of Christ that brings us to God. He died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. Now mark! It is the death of Christ that brings us to God; what is it that keeps us there? It is the life of Christ. We are saved by His life. Now hold these words in your minds--"Being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
Why was the life of Christ given? "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Then Christ gave His life that we might have life. Where is that life? what is that life? and where can we get it? In John 1:4 we read: "In Him was life and the life was the light of men." He alone has life and He gives that life to as many as will accept it. John 17:2. Then Christ has the life and He is the only One who has it, and He is willing to give it to us. Now what is that life? Verse 3: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Has a person who knows Christ eternal life? That is what the word of God says.
Again He says in John 3:36: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. How do we know that we have this life? This is an important question. "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer, and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."
Says one, "We know that we will get eternal life by and by." Yes, that is true, but it is better than that; we get it now. This is not a mere theory; it is the word of God. Let me illustrate: Here are two men--brothers--to all appearances they are alike. But one is a Christian and the other is not. Now the one that is a Christian, although there is nothing in his external appearance to indicate it, has a life that the other has not. He has passed from death--the state in which the other one is--to life. He has something that the other has not got, and that something is eternal life. The words, "No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him," would mean nothing if nobody else had eternal life abiding in him.
1 John 5:10: "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." God cannot lie, and so when we say that the words of God are not so, we make liars of ourselves. Now, according to this scripture, we make God a liar, if we believe not the record that God gave of His Son. What, then, must be believe in order to clear ourselves of that charge--of not believing this record and thus making God a liar? The next verse explains it. "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son."
Some people are afraid that this idea of justification by faith and eternal life will get men away from the commandments. But nobody but the one who is justified by faith--who has Christ's life--does keep the commandments, for God says that we are justified by faith, and if we say we are not, then we make God a liar--we bear false witness against Him, and we break the commandment. In the verse just quoted we are told what we are to believe in order to be cleared from the charge of making God a liar. We are to believe that God has given to us eternal life in Christ. As long as we have the Son of God we have eternal life. By our faith in the word of God we bring Christ into our hearts. Is He a dead Christ? No. He lives and cannot be separated from His life. Then when we get Christ into our hearts, we get life there. He brings that life into our hearts when He comes. How thankful we ought to be to God for this.
When Jesus went to Bethany, He said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life." We have already read about passing from death unto life. How is that done? Only by a resurrection. In Christ we have a resurrection to a new life. Note the following: Paul prays that he may know Him and the "power of His resurrection." What is the power of that resurrection? In Ephesians 2:4, 5, 6, and 7 we read, "But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us [made us alive] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)."
Notice, He hath done this, and He "hath raised us up and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." We were dead, we are quickened, and we are raised up to sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. We must have, and we can have the life of Christ today, for when He comes, He will change our vile bodies by the same power by which He has changed our hearts. The heart must be changed now. It cannot be changed except by the life of Christ coming in and abiding in it. But when Christ is in the heart, we can live the life of Christ, and then when He comes, the glory will be revealed. He was Christ when He was here upon earth, although He did not have a retinue of angels and glory visible about Him. He was Christ when He was the man of sorrows. Then when He ascended, the glory was revealed. So with us. Christ must dwell in our hearts now, and when He comes and changes these bodies, then the glory will be revealed.
Christ gave His life for us. John 10:10, 11. He gave all there was of Him. What was that? His life. He gave it for our sins. Galatians 1:3, 4. We shall be saved by His life. It is the life of Christ that was Jesus Christ of Nazareth. No one could take life away from Christ. The wicked had no power to kill Him. He laid His life down. If He had not chosen to do that, no one ever could have taken it from Him.
God raised Him up, "Having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that He should be holden of it." It was not possible that death should hold Christ. He had power in His life that defied death. ????? I live by faith on the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Yes, we are crucified with Christ; but is Christ dead? No. He has risen again; then we have risen with Him. But we are in the flesh. That is true; but in the flesh there may be the divine life that was in Christ when He was in the flesh.
We cannot understand these things. They are the mystery of the gospel. The mystery of Christ manifested in the flesh. Everything that is done for man by Heaven is a mystery. Once there was a poor woman, who was afflicted with an issue of blood. In a dense crowd she touched the hem of the Master's garment. Said Christ, "I perceive that virtue is gone out of me." Now that woman had a real disease and when she touched the hem of His garment, she was really healed of it. What healed her? There was a real power which came out from Jesus and went into her and healed her.
These miracles were written for us. Why were they written? "That ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name." The same life and power which went out from Christ and healed the body of that woman went out to heal her soul; Jesus is ready and willing to do the same today. These things were put upon record that we might know that the same Divine power and life that went into the bodies of men to heal them goes into the soul of those who believe. We can take that same life into our souls to withstand the temptations of the enemy.
There is only one life that can resist sin and that is a sinless life, and the only sinless life is the life of the Son of God. How many of us have been striving to get ourselves sinless. It has been a losing game. But we can have the life of Christ and that is a sinless life. Thanks be unto God for this unspeakable gift.
Study No. 9; Romans 5:10-21
"For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." Romans 5:10, 11.
The eleventh verse states one of the fruits that must follow from a knowledge that we are "saved by his life." When men have a well-grounded assurance that they are saved by the life of Jesus Christ, when they realize it is so till it becomes a part of their very being, they will joy in God through Jesus Christ their Lord. There can be nothing but joy in the heart of an individual when he knows that he is saved by the life of Christ. That is the secret of joying in tribulation.
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."
This verse contains a partially stated proposition. You will notice that commencing with the thirteenth verse and continuing down to the end of the seventeenth, there is a parenthesis. Then in the eighteenth verse, the proposition is taken up again and completed. The first part of the eighteenth verse is merely an equivalent to the first part of the twelfth; it is the same truth expressed in other words--"Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation." Then the closing portion of the verse completed the proposition: "Even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
We can notice but briefly the intervening verses. They contain rich truths, but the time allotted for this subject is so limited that our remarks must be confined to the major points of the chapter.
In the fourteenth verse we have reference to the "reign of death." What is the reign of death? What was this passage of death upon all men? The apostle says that "death reigned from Adam to Moses." He does not mean by this that it did not reign at any other time and that it does not reign at the present time. The part of the verse referring to Adam and Moses is a part of a great argument, which has its starting point back in chapter four. It is a part of his argument on Abraham.
The argument in a nutshell is, that the entering in of the law did not in any way interfere with the promise to Abraham. In Romans 4:13, 14 we are told that the promise "that he should be heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect." In these verses the apostle is proving in a practical manner that the law does not enter into man's justification at all; that justification is solely by faith and not by works. Why is it that the law does not enter into the justification of man? "Because the law worketh wrath."
If Abraham had been left to be justified by the works of the law, there would have been nothing to be placed to his account but wrath, for that is all that the law can work. But on the other hand, when he is not justified by the law, which could only be the means of imputing wrath to him and is justified by faith, then there is life placed to his account. And life is what is wanted, not wrath. Life is what all men desire, not wrath. Whoever seeks to be justified by his works will reap only wrath. Abraham will receive the inheritance only by the virtue of the promise and he will receive his righteousness only by the faith that he had.
Some think that there are two ways of being saved, because the Lord gave the law at Sinai and death had reigned till that time, so of course that means that the law brought life. It is true that the Lord gave the law at Sinai, but the law was in the world long before its giving at Sinai. Abraham had the law, and through the righteousness of faith he was able to keep that law. So the entering in of the law at Sinai did not militate against the promise of God to Abraham. There was no different phase of the plan of salvation introduced at Mount Sinai or at the time of the Exodus. There was no more law after that time than there was before it. Abraham kept the law. If there had not been any law there, Abraham could never have been justified, but he kept the law by his faith. Death reigned through sin before the time of Moses, but righteousness was imputed unto life. This shows that the law was there already, although they did not have it in that written, open form, that they had it afterwards.
In regard to the reign of death, I am persuaded that we lose much of the good and the encouragement that there is in this fifth chapter simply by the misapplying of these words--"death reigned," and also the expression "death passed upon all men, for that all had sinned." Why did death pass upon all men? Because that all had sinned! By one man sin came into the world. There are many who will stop at this point and philosophize and question as to how this could be and try to figure out for themselves the justice of it. They will query why it is that we are here in this sinful condition without having had any choice or say in the matter ourselves. Now we know that there was one man in the beginning, and he fell. We are his children, and it is impossible for us to be born in any higher condition than he was.
Some will shut themselves out of eternal life because they cannot figure that thing out to a nicety and see the justice of it. The finite mind of man cannot do this, so it is better for him to leave it alone and devote himself to seeking for the proffered salvation. That is the important point for all to consider. We know that we are in a sinful condition, and that this sinful condition is a lost condition. Seeing then that we are in a lost condition, is it not best for us to devote our energies to seeking to attain to that state whereby we may be in a saved condition.
What would you think of a man drowning in the ocean who, when someone throws him a rope, looks at it and then says, "I know that I am drowning and that the only hope I have lies in my getting hold of that rope, but I will not take hold of it unless I know that it has really been my own fault that I fell into the water. If it was my own fault, then I will take it, because I am the only one who is to blame for my being in this condition. But if, on the other hand, someone pushed me into the water and I could not help myself, then I will have nothing to do with that rope." Such a man would be considered devoid of common sense. Then, acknowledging that we are sinners and in a lost condition, let us take hold of the salvation that is offered to us.
"Death reigned," it "passed upon all men." The twelfth and eighteenth verses tell us what this death is. Why did it pass? Because that "all have sinned." "Judgement came upon all!" What for? What to? Condemnation. We are familiar with death; we see people being placed in their graves every day. But is that the death referred to? Good men die, with only two exceptions, all the good men that have ever lived upon the earth have died. Do they die under condemnation? No, certainly not. Do they die because they are sinners? No, if they were sinners, they were not good men. There has been no man in this world upon whom the death sentence has not passed, for there never was a man in this world that was not a sinner, and if he became a good man so that he walked with God as Enoch did, it was by faith.
If we say that the death which comes to all men--good and bad, old and young alike--is the carrying out of that judgment which "came upon all men to condemnation," then we take the position that there is no hope for anyone who has died. For there is no such thing as probation after death and therefore the man who dies in sin can never be accounted righteous. If it is said that the good do not die in sin, but only because of sins previously committed, the justice of God is impugned, and His imputed righteousness denied. For when God declares His righteousness upon the one who believes, that man stands as clear as though he had never sinned, and cannot be punished as a sinner, unless he denies the faith. Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24.
When Adam was placed in the garden of Eden, the Lord told him, "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." That does not mean "dying thou shalt die," as the marginal reading has it. That expression is neither Hebrew nor English. It means just what it says, that in the day that Adam ate of the fruit of the true of knowledge of good and evil, in that day he died. In the very day that Adam ate of the fruit, he fell, and the death sentence was passed upon him, and he was a dead man. Sentence was not executed at that moment, and for that matter we know that Adam was a good man and that the sentence never was executed upon him. Christ died for him. But he was in the same condition, after he had eaten of the fruit of the tree that Pharaoh was in after the first-born of all the Egyptians had been killed, when he arose by night and said, "We be all dead men."
When sentence has been passed upon a murderer, he is to all intents and purposes a dead man. But it was more than that in the case of Adam. He was dead, and the Son of God was to make him alive. It was only a matter of time till he should be blotted out of existence. But Christ comes in to give man a probation and to lift him up. All that Christ has to give to man is summed up in that one word--life. Everything is comprised in that. This fact shows that without Him men have no life. Said Christ to the unbelieving Jews, "Ye will not come to me that ye might have life." Probably they replied, "we do not need to come, because we have life already."
In Ezekiel 13:22 we read, "Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad, and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life." There is no life to the wicked. They have no life. They are dead. Said Christ, "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." Christ came to give life to the dead. He gives life only to those who conscientiously lay hold of that life, who bring His life into their lives, so that it takes the place of their forfeited lives. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life. He is dead.
So Adam died, and because of that, every man born into the world is a sinner, and the sentence of death is passed upon him. Judgment has passed upon all men to condemnation, and there is not a man in this world but has been under the condemnation of death. The only way that he can get free from that condemnation and that death is through Christ, who died for him and who, in His own body, bore our sins upon the cross. He bore the penalty of the law, and suffered the condemnation of the law for us, not for Himself, for He was sinless.
"As by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin . . . even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." What is the free gift? It is the free gift by grace and it appertaineth unto many. The work of Adam plunged man into sin; the work of Christ brings men out of sin. One man's single offense plunged many into many offenses, but the one man's obedience gathers the many offenses of many men and brings them out from beneath the condemnation of those offenses.
Then the free gift is the righteousness of Christ. How do we get the righteousness of Christ? We cannot separate the righteousness of Christ from Christ Himself. Therefore in order for men to get the righteousness of Christ, they must have the life of Christ. So the free gift comes upon all men who are justified by the life of Christ. Justification is life. It is the life of Christ. "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, even so by the obedience of one many shall be made righteous." These are simple and positive statements. No good can come to man by questioning them. He only reaps barrenness to his soul. Let us accept them and believe them.
"The free gift came upon all men to justification of life." Are all men going to be justified? All men might if they would, but says Christ, "Ye will not come to me that ye might have life." All are dead in trespasses and sins. The grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared unto all men. It comes right within the reach of all men, and those who do not get it are those who do not want it.
"As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one many shall be made righteous." That settles the whole question, as to whether you and I can do works that will make us righteous. It is by the obedience of one man. Now which man shall that be? Can I do righteousness that will do you any good? No. Can you do righteousness that will do me any good? No. Suppose that one man could do righteous works that would be set to his account as making him righteous--who shall he be? I cannot do it for you and you cannot do it for me. Then who is the man? Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
This settles the question as to whether justification by faith comes by the law. By the obedience of Christ are many made righteous or obedient. Righteousness is obedience to the law. Did you ever read or hear of any human being who kept the law perfectly? Or did you ever hear of anyone, however high his standard was set, who did not find something beyond, that he had not attained to? Even worldly men often have an ideal of their own, but the nearer they can come to that ideal, the greater lack they see in themselves. Anyone who is sincere in trying to reach a high standard, when he gets there, will see something beyond it.
There is one spotless life. There is one man, the man Christ Jesus, who resisted successfully all the powers of sin when He was here upon earth. He was the Word made flesh. God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself. He could stand before the world and challenge any to convict Him of sin. No guile was found in His mouth. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens," and by His obedience shall many be made righteous.
Then comes the question, how can this be? It is the same question that the Jews propounded to Christ, when He said, "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in you." Said they, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" There are many today who may be found asking the same question when they say how can I have His life or His righteousness? Could Jesus explain to them how He could give them His flesh? He could not do it except by the words He spake unto them--they are spirit and they are life. The plan of salvation cannot be explained to man. It was made by an infinite being, and we cannot understand it. As to how it takes place we are ignorant. Through all eternity we will not understand how it was done. It is only infinite power that can or could do it. It is only infinite wisdom that can understand it.
If we will eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood, we will have the life of Christ. If we have His life, we have a righteous life; His obedience works in us and that makes us righteous. This does not leave any room for the statement that Christ obeyed for us and that therefore we can do as we please, and His righteousness will be accounted unto us just the same. His obedience must be manifested in us day by day. It is not our obedience, but the obedience of Christ working in us. By those "exceeding great and precious promises," we take the divine life into us. The life we live is the life of the Son of God. He died for us, and loved us with a love that we cannot fathom. The righteousness that we have is His. Thanks be to God for the unspeakable gift. He lets us get all the benefit of that obedience, because we have shown our intense desire for obedience. That is why He gives it to us.
When you go to God, take these Scriptures on your lips, "We shall be saved by His life." "By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Take them to God in prayer. They are true, for the Lord Himself has said so. How can these blessings be obtained? By faith! Take it by faith, and it is yours, and no one can take it from you. Then you will have it, although you do not understand how it can be done. When you have it, you have life. What life? The divine life. Then when you come up to the time of temptation, the time when you have usually fallen, you can tell Satan that he has no power to make you fall beneath that temptation, for it is not you, but Christ that dwelleth in you.
There never was a time in the life of any man when of himself he had power to resist temptation. We cannot do it. That proves that we must have a life different from our natural life in order to resist sin at all. That must be a life that sin has never touched and can never touch. Repeat the glorious words over and over again, "His life is mine, I cannot be touched by sin. His strength is my strength; His obedience is my obedience, and His life is my life. That was a sinless life, and by faith I have it, I hold to it, because it is mine, and sin cannot touch it." That is the only way to resist them, and that will be successful every time.
"Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
The time of the entering in of the law was the time when it was spoken from Sinai. It entered that the offense, or sin, might abound. But where that sin abounded, grace did much more abound. There was sin in the world before that law was proclaimed from Sinai. Therefore the law was there before it was proclaimed from Sinai. But God spoke it in that awful way and in those thunder tones from the mount for the purpose that sin might seem to be a greater sin. It was done that the people might see sin more as God saw it.
These things were written for our benefit. The speaking of that law in thunder tones with such a solemn scene of grandeur all around it is to have the same effect on us that it had on the children of Israel. We are to see the thunder clouds and the lightning and they are to strike terror into our hearts.
Still further: Whoever touched the mount was to die. What is meant by that? All that was intended to show the awfulness of the law. It was given in that way that the people might see the wonderful majesty that it had and that by it no man could get life. It was so great that no man could keep it. Everything connected with its giving, conspired to show man that the only thing he could get by it was death. It was so great, so inexpressibly great, that they never could reach to the heights of it. It was given in that way to show the people that there was only death and condemnation to them in it.
Then was not the law just given to put discouragement into the hearts of the people? No. Go back to Abraham and we shall see what else was taught by the giving of the law. There was a promise to Abraham and to his righteous seed of a righteous inheritance. That promise was sworn to Abraham and to his seed by God Himself. God had pledged His own existence that there should be righteous men--men whose righteousness should be equal to the righteousness of the law. But here was the law in such awful majesty that there could be no righteousness gotten out of it. It was to be the sole standard. Now put two things together: The law is so holy in its claims that no man can get any righteousness out of it, as was shown in the giving of it; but God had sworn that there should be men who would have all the righteousness that it demands; therefore the very giving of the law served to show the people that there must be and was another way of getting that same righteousness.
So in giving the law, He was giving the gospel in thunder tones. Righteousness and peace dwell together in fullness in Christ. So in Him is life. Condemnation is in the law, but the law is in Christ, and in Christ is also life. In Christ we get the righteousness of the law by His life. The voice that declared the law from Sinai was the voice of Christ, the voice of the very one who has this righteousness to bestow.
Now see the force of the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 33:2, 3. "And he said, The Lord came from Sinai and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Mount Paran and He came with ten thousands of his saints from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, He loved the people."
The giving of that law was one of the highest manifestations of love that could be because it preached to the people in the strongest tones that there was life in Christ. The One who gave the law was the One who brought them out of Egypt. He was the one who swore to Abraham that he and his seed should be righteous, and this showed to them that they could not get righteousness in the law but that they could get it through Christ. So there was a superabundance of grace, for where sin, by the giving of the law did abound, there grace did much more abound. That thing is acted out every time that there is a sinner converted. Before his conversion he does not realize the sinfulness of his sins. Then the law comes in and shows him how awful those sins are, but with it comes the gentle voice of Christ in whom there is grace and life.
How precious it is to have that conviction of sin sent to our hearts, for we know that it is a part of the work of the Comforter which God sends into the world to convict of sin. It is a part of the comfort of God to convict of sin, because the same hand that convicts of sin holds the pardon, that as sin had reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. In this grace we have again those precious words--much more. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds.
The Lord searches the heart and He knows our sins. Shall we go about mourning and sighing and saying our sins are so great that God cannot forgive such sinners as we are? Some people seem to fancy that God never knew that they had any sins. Then they say that they are not worthy that He should take their sins away. They cannot see how He can save them. Who is it that makes us feel sinful? Who shows us our unworthiness? How do we come to find out that we have sinned? It is God that shows us our sins. He had known them all the time. We do not consider this--that God has known all our sins beforehand and that He it is who shows them to us for the first time, when we are convicted of sin by Him.
When God made the plan of salvation, he knew what He was doing. He knew the human heart. He knew the depth of degradation to which humanity would fall, as no man has ever known it. Now, by His law He drives the sins home to our hearts and then that sin abounds in the proportion that it should. It was small in our eyes before, but He makes us see it as He sees it.
Remember it is the Comforter that convicts. Remember that where sin abounds in your heart or in your mind that there grace does much more abound. It is your firm belief of that that makes the grace effective in taking away the sin. Christ is able to save to the uttermost him that cometh to God by Him. You cannot ask anything of Him so good or so great but what He is able to do it and--much more.
God does not have to take the measure of grace and look over the world to see how many there are among whom it will need to be divided and then go to work to portion it out so that there will be enough to go round. He gives us scripture measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over. No matter how great are the sins to be covered up, there is grace much more than enough to do it. Mortal man may be covered with the righteousness of Christ as with a garment. Then let us take the life of Christ by faith and live a new life.
Study No. 10; Romans 6
The sixth chapter of Romans commences with a continuation of the argument that is contained in the fifth chapter. That argument is that the life of Christ is given to us for our justification. Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Grace is favor, and the psalmist tells us that in His favor there is life; and so "being justified freely by His grace" is simply the bestowal of the life of Christ upon us. That life is a sinless life. Christ in us obeys and by His obedience we are made righteous.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin live any longer therein? Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized unto Jesus were baptized unto His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection."
Now this chapter shows us how we make the connection with Christ, and what that connection does for us. In the preceding chapter we learned that judgment had passed upon all men unto condemnation and that the sentence of death had gone forth upon every man in this world. The death sentence has been pronounced, and death works in men. Why does death work in men? What is the peculiar power of death? It is sin! "The sting of death is sin." Therefore sin working in men is simply death working in them. Men who are sinners are stung by death. Death is in them already and it is carrying on its work in them, and it is only a matter of time till it shall hold them in its grasp forever. But while probation is continued there is a possibility that men may escape that sting and the execution of that penalty. Nevertheless God must be just, even while He is the justifier of them that believe on Him. Sentence of death has been pronounced upon every man, and that sentence will be executed. Every man must die, because that all men have sinned.
But there is given to every man a choice as to when he will die. Christ died for all men. We can acknowledge His death and die in Him and thus get His life, or on the other hand we may, if we wish, refuse to acknowledge Him and die in ourselves. But die we must. Death has passed upon all men and all men must die. The life of every man is forfeited; of ourselves we have no life at all.
The Scripture plainly says, "He that hath not the Son of God hath not life." 1 John 5:12. Now seeing that we are in that condition, when death claims her forfeit, what are we going to do? Don't you see that we are left lifeless. If I owe a thousand dollars and I have just exactly a thousand dollars in my possession, when I pay that debt, I am left penniless am I not? So it is with this life of ours. We all have a life here in our possession, but it does not belong to us. It is forfeited to the law. It does not belong to us at all. When the law exacts that forfeit and that life of ours is gone, then there is nothing left to us but eternal death.
But Christ, the Son of God, has so much life in Himself that He can give life to every man and still have as much life left. He was not under any obligation to come to earth and go through the experience that He did. He had glory in heaven; He had the adoration of all the angels; He had riches and power, but He left them all and even emptied Himself of His glory and His honor; came to earth as a poor man, took upon Himself the form of a servant and was made in all things like unto those whom He came to save.
He worked out righteousness here in the flesh. What did He do it for? For Himself? No. He did not have any need of it. He had riches to begin with. He had everything that He could have when He was in heaven. But here on earth, as a man, He worked out righteousness and eternal redemption that He might give them to us. That is the sole reason that brought Him into the world. He has all that righteousness He wrought out here and He will and does give it to men. So He paid the penalty of the law--for Himself? No! He had no sin, consequently the law had no claim upon Him.
In the second letter to the Corinthians, chapter five and verse twenty-one, the apostle Paul says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." So it was that He suffered the penalty, not for Himself but for us. When we by faith lay hold on Christ and become united with Him so that we are identified with Him, then we have that life which He has to bestow.
But pay the penalty, suffer the forfeit, we must; for the law will exact the forfeit. But as I said before, we have the choice as to whether we will wait and let the law take the forfeit from us, at a time when we will have nothing left after it is gone, or whether we will give over the forfeited life when we can take the life of Christ and have it left after we have paid the forfeit.
Now how do we get hold of Christ? How do we get the benefit of that righteous life of His? It is in the act of death. At what point is it that we touch Christ and make the connection? At what point in the ministry of Christ is it that He touches us and effects the union? It is at the lowest possible point where man can be touched and that is death. In all points He is made like His brethren so He takes the very lowest of these--the point of death--and there it is, when we are actually dead, that we step into Christ.
The ceremony of baptism is simply the symbol of Christ's death and resurrection. Says Paul in Galatians 3:27, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." In Romans he says, "As many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death." But if we died with Christ we are bound and certain to live again, for Christ is alive. Here we can forcibly apply the words of Peter in Acts 2:24: "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." It was utterly impossible that death should hold Christ. Therefore if we died with Him and in our death are united with Him, we shall also live with Him. The great thought around which the whole Bible clusters is death and resurrection with Christ. If we die with Him, we shall live again.
We die with Him--when? Now! When we acknowledge our life forfeited and give up all claims to that life and everything that is connected with it, that very moment we die with Christ. Now what is this giving up of our life? Life stands for everything that a man has. It stands for everything that pertains to life. What is it, then, that pertains to the life that we naturally have in ourselves? It is sin! It is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It is envy, malice, evil speaking, evil thinking--all these things make up the natural life, because we see that every man that has the natural life has these things. They are a part of his life. They enter into the life of every man on earth.
When we come to that place where we see that we have those things and are ready to give them up and pay the forfeit, then it is that we can die with Christ and take His sinless life in their stead. In yielding up that life of ours, we give up all these things, and when they are all given up, then we are dead with Christ. But just as surely as we give them up and die with Christ, just so surely must we be raised again, for Christ is risen, and we then walk in newness of life. That new life--that newness of life which we have, is the life of Christ, and it is a sinless life. Knowing this, "that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we might not serve sin."
Here is the secret of all missionary effort. When a man comes to the point where in very deed he reckons that he has no life of his own and he gives up the forfeited life which he did have in his possession and the life he lives in the flesh he lives by faith in the Son of God; then Christ is his life, and his life is "hid with Christ in God." He has been raised to newness of life by faith in the operation of God. What can that man fear of what man can do to him? What will he fear of what man will say of him? He will say to himself, It is not I, but Christ that liveth in me.
What will it matter to him if he is called to go to an unhealthful locality? His life has already been yielded up, so that death has no terrors for him. He goes willingly, "not taking his life in his hand," but leaving it in the keeping of Christ in God. If Christ, in whom his life is hid, wishes to allow him to sleep for awhile, it is all right. Moreover he is not discouraged by difficulties in the work to which Christ has assigned him, for he has practical knowledge of the power of Christ and he knows that He who cast down the high things that had exalted themselves in his own heart against Christ is able to subdue all things unto Himself. The life that he lives is the life of Christ, provided only, that every moment of his life he yields himself and is as thoroughly consecrated as he was at the time he died.
It is necessary that we die continually and that we continually know the power of God and of the resurrection of Christ. For "we are saved by his life." We must know and experience the same power that God wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. We take that power--How? "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."
It is simply a matter of making the resurrection of Christ a practical thing in our own lives. It is simply believing that what God could do for Christ, as He lay in the grave, He can do for us. That power which brought Christ from the dead can keep us alive from the dead. If we have the life of Christ and it is working in us, it must do for us all that it did for Him when he was in Galilee and Judea.
What a precious thought it is that our lives are not our own. We have but the life of Christ. It is this thought that makes a man triumph even in death. Why? The sting of death is gone! Death does not sting the righteous man, because he is freed from sin. It was the knowledge of this that enabled the martyrs like Jerome and Huss to go to the stake, singing songs of triumph and victory. "Fear not them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Our lives are hid with Christ in God, so that we fear not the power of wicked men or of the devil himself. When we have given ourselves to Christ and our life is hid with Him, what matters it whether this life be cut off soon or not? We walk with Christ and He controls our lives. Wicked men or devils can no more touch our life than they could hold Christ in the grave.
Oh, that we might feel the power of that life and know that we are His! When we do get it, the power of God will accompany the message, as we go forth bearing it. What difference if men bring reproaches on us--we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God, and the life we live, we live in Him and through faith in Him. This is the power of the gospel and the hope that makes the Christian triumph even in death. It is the hope of the resurrection, for when the man is called to lie down and sleep, he sleeps in Jesus. His life is just as sure and even surer then, than if he were alive upon the earth. His probation is sealed; he has fought a good fight; he has finished his course and kept the faith. Well might the apostle say that he did not sorrow for those who slept, as for those who had no hope.
When the church of God and the ministers of God have died indeed, giving up everything that has pertained to their own life, then they will belong to Christ in deed and in truth. If Christ is willing to intrust us with some of these things; if we are to be spared on earth for awhile, it is all right. If on the other hand He thinks best to take us away, that is all right too. Whether sleeping in the grave or working for the Master on the earth, matters not, for it is Christ all the time.
When we get hold of these ideas and make them ours and we may have them as soon as we please, they are precious to us. Having counted the cost of giving up all those things that have been dear to us, if we are prepared to count them all but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord, then we can yield ourselves wholly to Christ. Just as soon as we are willing to count the cost and to let ourselves be crucified with Christ, by giving up the pride of life, the lust of the flesh, and all those things which have pertained to our old life, making no provision for the flesh, then the power of Christ comes upon us. But we are living yet on earth! Yes, but we have given up our life and all there is to us is Christ working in us.
The very moment that a man denies everything pertaining to the flesh, that very moment he can say that Christ is his, and that he has the life of Christ. How does he know it? Through faith in the operation of Him that raised Christ from the dead!
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him."
Christ's life is an eternal life. He voluntarily went under the dominion of death. By doing this He demonstrated His power over death. He went down into the grave to show that right there, while bound by the chains of the prison house of the grave itself, He had power to burst those fetters asunder and come forth free and a conqueror. Therefore since He dies no more and we take that sinless life of His, then we can reckon ourselves dead unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. As death can have no dominion over Him, so sin, which is the sting of death, can have no dominion over us.
A questioner may say, "You make it out that we ought never to sin any more--you leave no room for sin." But is not that what the Bible says? "For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace." We belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. How? By death, we make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof. There is such a thing as a complete surrender to Christ--when we give up everything and then trust to His power to keep us in that state. And I thank God that He is able to do it.
Men start out on dangerous expeditions--some to conquer a country and when they reach that land, they burn the boats they came in so they cannot go back if they desired to. It is right for us to count well the cost. There is no use to make a headlong plunge into the battle. Look over the whole ground. Here is this pleasure and that indulgence. Can I give them up? They have been very dear to me; they have become entwined around my very life itself. They are identified with me, so that they show themselves in my very countenance; they are imbedded in my very character and are a part of myself. I have clung to them as I have clung to life itself. But Christ was not in them; they do not savor of the life of Christ at all. For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross. Can I, for the sake of sharing that joy, endure that cross? Can I give up the pleasures of sin for a season in order to share the riches of Christ and the joy of His salvation? These are the questions we must ask ourselves.
Look up and place your eyes on Christ and the joy of present salvation. They form the opposite side of the picture. There is the joy of having an infinite power working in us. For that joy which we can have now are we willing to give up everything and to become sharers of the sufferings of Christ and to be made partakers of His death and the power of His resurrection? This is a joy that will last forever, so let us burn the boats and the bridges behind us! Can we give up all these things that have been so dear to us; can we give them up forever? That is the hard part.
Says one, "I have tried to give up these things before, and I have fallen again; now how do I know but what I shall fall again?" Ah, no, you are not making a new resolution this time; you are not turning over a new leaf and saying that you are going to do better. You are merely letting the old life and all the resolutions go. Simply say, "I know that there is power in God. And that same power which spoke the world into existence, that same power which brought Christ forth from the tomb--into the hands of that power I will yield myself and let it sustain and keep me in the new life." And day by day as we do that, our hearts will go out in thankfulness to God for His wonderful power.
It is not ours to make provision for the flesh in the lusts thereof, but we must step out and take hold of the life of Christ and feel that the power of God is working in us. When we feel that power working--that miracle which is wrought in us--the temptations to which we have yielded so often, the sinful practices to which we have given way, will be overcome and we will rise superior to them. Then we can go out into the world, in the power of Christ and carry the message as we never have done before.
How is it that we will have more power? Because we know that if God can work that miracle for us, He can do it for anyone. Our work from a human standpoint is an impossible one; difficulties arise on every hand. But we have a knowledge of what the power of God can do, and therefore go forth in faith that He who can cast down imaginations in our hearts and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and can bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ can do that same work for others, since He has done it for us. It was that same power which caused the walls of Jericho to fall down before the people of God. I am so thankful that the God who has called us to be His servants is a God of infinite power. Take hold of that power and prove it for yourselves.
"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." "Likewise"--Like what? Like as Christ was raised from the dead to be dead no more, so likewise reckon yourselves to be dead unto sin to sin no more. Is that true? Note it carefully--that sin shall have no more dominion over you. That is what the Bible says. We are no longer under the law but under grace. We are no longer under condemnation, but the grace of God resteth upon us. The spirit of glory and of grace is present with us.
There is power in Christ. What is that power? Notice. Grace is favor! In the favor of God there is life. Then what is the power of the grace of Christ? It is the power of an endless life. If men really believe that Christ is risen from the dead, they can believe that they are dead unto sin, but alive unto God and free from sin. Does the apostle mean free from sin? It is a solemn, but a glorious thought. How thankful ought men to be that they can have that confidence in the power of God through Christ that they can without any mental reservation take this chapter and believe it. Yes, believe these very words, "He that is dead is freed from sin . . . reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ."
But is it true that man can live without sin? In the last part of the chapter we read, "For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness." We all know what that means. Our past experience is not so pleasant to look back over. In it we see no good. Now why was it that we were free from righteousness? Because we were the servants of Satan. "But now, being made free from sin, we are become the servants of righteousness." Christ is the author of righteousness. The service we render is His. Which are we, the servants of Christ or the servants of Satan? When we were the servants of Satan, we did not do any righteousness. But now we are the servants of God. "Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." "Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness?
There are just two services. The service of Satan, which is of sin unto death, and the service of Christ, which is of obedience unto righteousness. A man cannot serve two masters. All believe that. Then it is impossible to serve sin and righteousness at the same time. Now we call ourselves Christians. That mans what? Followers of Christ! But in all our Christian experience we have left little loopholes along here and there for sin. We have never dared to come to that place where we would believe that the Christian life should be a sinless life. We have not dared to believe it or preach it. But in that case we cannot preach the law of God fully. Why not? Because we do not understand the power of justification by faith. Then without justification by faith it is impossible to preach the law of God to the fullest extent. Then to preach justification by faith does not detract from or lower the law of God but is the only thing that exalts it.
Now can we be the servants of Christ while we are committing sins and making provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust thereof? Is Christ the minister of sin? Whose servants are we while we are committing sin? We are the servants of sin, and sin is of Satan. Now if a Christian (?) is committing sin part of the time and doing righteousness the rest of the time, it must be that Satan and Christ are in partnership, so that he has only one master, for he cannot serve two masters.
But there is no consort between light and darkness--between Christ and Belial. They are in deadly antagonism. They are opposed to each other, and they have fought a fight even to the death. There is no quarter on either side. Then it is utterly impossible for man to serve these two masters. He must be on the one side or the other. "Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness?" We know enough about being servants of sin. We have yielded ourselves as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.
Now the question comes: How am I going to become a servant of Christ so that I will be able to die to my old life? "To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye obey." The word rendered "servant" really means a "bond-servant." Just the moment that I yield myself to Christ to become His servant, that very moment I am His bond-servant. That very moment I belong to Him. How do I know that Christ will accept my service if I do give it Him? Because He has bought that service and paid the price for it. And in all those years that I yielded myself a servant to sin, I have been defrauding Him of His right. But all this time that I have been keeping back my service, He has been going about searching for me and seeking to draw me to Him. And when we say, "Here, Lord, here I am; I give myself to Thee," that very moment Christ has found us, for He has been seeking for us and we are His servants.
But how do we know that we are going to continue in His service? How do we know that we can live the life of Christ? Just in the same way that we know we have lived the life of sin. When we take this matter into account as to whose servants we will be, we want to take into account the power of the two masters. When we were the servants of sin, we were free from righteousness, because Satan swayed us and used us in whatever way he would, and we were at the mercy of his power.
Is sin stronger than righteousness? Is Satan stronger than Christ? No! Then as Christ has proved Himself to be the stronger of the two and just as surely as when we were the bond-servants of sin it had power to keep us free from righteousness, so when we yield ourselves as bond-servants unto Christ, He has power to keep us from sin. The battle is not ours; it is God's. I said that Christ and Satan were not in partnership, but that there is the bitterest antagonism between them.
All are familiar with the words, "The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan." It is a household phrase among us. What is the controversy over? It is over the souls of men and the place of their abode. Who shall have your service and mine, is the question that they are fighting over. The controversy is between Christ and Satan. They are not only the principal ones in the controversy, but the whole controversy is between them and them alone.
We have this much to say--neither one of them can take our service against our will. Of ourselves we have no power to stand against Satan; we have tried that. We have no power to meet him; we cannot face him and conquer him. We have no power at all, but at the same time we know that we do not want to be his servants. Yes, and we will not only say, I do not want to be his servant, but I will not be his servant. So instead of putting our strength against Satan, we yield ourselves to Christ and repeat over and over again, like David the psalmist, "O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant and the son of thine handmaid; thou hast loosed my bonds." Psalm 116:15.
What? I was a bond-servant of Satan's but just the moment I said to Christ, "I will be your servant," He loosed my bonds and took upon Himself the responsibility of defending me against Satan, who has no right to me. So when Satan comes to take me back and make me his bond-servant again, Christ meets him, even as He met him when He was here upon the earth. So simply tell your own heart, and Satan, that you are Christ's and that He has loosed your bonds. Then you are loosed indeed. You have counted the cost and now you can take the words of David and repeat them over and over.
Your life is no longer your own, it is the life of Christ. His life, His very existence, is pitted against Satan. The battle goes over our heads, for we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God. Says the psalmist, "Thou shalt keep them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues." The battle between Christ and Satan is being waged over our heads and we are hid in the secret pavilion. This is the victory that overcometh the world, for Christ has gained the victory over Satan and by grasping the promises of Christ by faith and laying hold upon the life of Christ, the victory over Satan is ours.
Does not Christ say that all power is given Him in heaven and in earth? Note the precious words in Ephesians 1:19-21: "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named."
That same power which placed Him in that exalted position which is far above all principality and power--what has it done for us? "Quickened us together with Christ and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Where is it that we are placed? "Far above all principality and power."
Then the victory is ours in Christ and He has gained the victory already. He has conquered a peace for us. Just as surely as He gives His peace to us, just that surely has He gained the victory for us. So in the hour of trial we have a victory that is already gained. Well may we say that the battle goes over our heads, and great is our peace. There is peace all the time.
The strength of the Christian lies in submitting--the victory in yielding to Christ, so that He may keep us in His presence, and cover us up in His pavilion from the strife of tongues. Then it does not matter how great the trial may be, if we have Christ, there will be peace in our hearts.
O that every one in this house may be filled with a desire to have Christ and His righteousness, that this very night we may take His word and be inspired by its inspiration and then we shall have and shall be able to live the life of Christ. Then we can go about as missionaries for Christ and do good. When we take that power which we have by faith in Him, it will not be long till the work will be cut short in righteousness, and we shall see Him, who not having seen, we love.
Study No. 11; Romans 7
Know ye not, brethren (for I speak to them that know the law), how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For a woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed form the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sin, which were by the law, did work in our bodies to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. (Romans 7:1-6).
The ground covered by this seventh chapter is really gone over twice. The first part lays the broad facts before us; the latter part goes into the details and particulars of what is given in the beginning.
In the six verses that have been read, there is given us an illustration and the application. The illustration is easily understood. The simple fact of marriage is taken. A woman having a husband is bound to that husband so long as he liveth. By what is she bound? By the law. It is contrary to the law for her to have two husbands at the same time; but if the first husband be dead, the same law will allow her to marry another man. This is but a plain illustration, and if it is kept in mind throughout the study of the chapter, it will be a great help to us in understanding it.
There is no need of any argument in this chapter for the perpetuity of the law. That is not the question under consideration. The apostle is not making a special argument to prove that the law is not abolished. His argument starts from that point as one already settled, and shows the practical working of the law in individual cases. He brings it right home to the hearts of men that they are under the law; and if they are under it, how can it be abolished? He urges its claims upon the hearts of men, and by the Spirit of God they feel its working power upon them, and therefore know that it is not abolished.
Note the class of people to whom Paul is writing. "I speak to them that know the law." This epistle is addressed to professed followers of Christ. We find that in the second chapter, commencing with the seventeenth verse: "Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law and makest thy boast of God."
Now to the illustration: While the law will not allow the woman to be united to two husbands at the same time, it will allow her to be united to two in succession. It is the law that allows her, and it is the law that unties her. The same law that unites her to the first husband also allows her to be united to the second, after that the first is dead. This is easy to be understood and there is no need to consider it further.
Now to the application: "Wherefore my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that ye should bring forth fruit unto God." We can determine who the two husbands are by beginning with the second one. The "another" to whom we are to be married, is the one who has been raised from the dead, and that is Christ. We are one of the parties in the second marriage, and Christ is the other. He is the second husband.
The question now arises, Who was the first husband that died, in order that we might be united to the second? The sixth chapter has answered that. Compare Romans 7:5 with Romans 6. "For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death." The law held us in the first union and now to what were we united? What were we in? We were in union with the flesh. In the sixth chapter we found that the body of sin is destroyed by Christ. By what means is it that the body of sin becomes destroyed? By the man being crucified with Christ.
In the first place we are joined to sin--the sinful flesh. We cannot serve two masters. Here are two figures. We are servants to one master--united to one husband. We cannot serve two masters at the same time and we cannot be united to two husbands at the same time. But we can be united to two in succession. The first one of these, to whom we have all been united, is the body of sin; the second is Christ, who is raised from the dead.
The question arises, what is meant by our being dead to the law by the body of Christ? That brings us to the point where the illustration fails us. The illustration fails us--why? Because it is utterly impossible to find anything in life that will correctly represent in every particular divine things. There is no illustration that will serve in every particular. That is why we have so many types of Christ. No one person could serve as a complete type of Him. We have Adam in one place as a type of Christ; we have Abel; we have Moses; we have Aaron; David; and Melchizedek, and many others who represent different phases of Christ, because there is no one of them who could represent Him in every particular.
So when the apostle would represent the union of all people with the house of Israel, he says, "I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery." It is a mystery; it is something unnatural. He says that it is a grafting process, but that is contrary to the natural method. Therefore this illustration of marriage cannot be considered as complete in every particular. And yet, after all, the illustration does not fail, if we choose to consider that the union with the first husband is a criminal connection. It is so in the application. Those who are united to the flesh are guilty of a capital crime. The law holds them in that connection; i.e., it will not allow them to lightly dissolve the union and pass it by as though nothing had taken place--but it demands their life. With this explanation we can understand what follows.
We find that we are united with sin and with the body of sin. Then Christ comes to us and He presents Himself as the one altogether lovely. And in reality He is the only one who has any real claim upon us. "I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." The apostle is writing to those who know the law and who have left their first love, and what applies to them will also apply in larger measure to those of the world. Christ comes to the door of our hearts and knocks and begs that we will come to Him. He has spread out His hands all the day unto a rebellious people, "which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts." How deep, how unfathomable is the love of God!
In Jeremiah 3:1 we read, "They say, If a man put away his wife and she go from him and become another man's shall he return unto her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord." Paul in writing to the Corinthians says, "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."
Now we desire that loveliness of character which can be found only in Christ. We find that this union in which we are held--with the flesh--is not a pleasant union but the husband to whom we are wedded is a taskmaster, he is a tyrant who grinds us down so that we have no liberty. The flesh is tyrannical, and it holds us down and makes us do, not as we wish to do, but as it wishes us to do. When we by the aid of Christ come to feel that this union is a galling bondage, then we awake to the real state of our condition and realize that whereas it may have satisfied us for a time, now we hate it and desire to rid ourselves of it and become united to Christ.
But here is where the difficulty comes in. It is expressed in the words of James 4:4. "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Do you think that it is vain that Christ hath said, "What communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial?" Now while we still remain in the flesh we desire to take the name of Christ. of course it is impossible for us to really be joined to Christ and still cling to the body of sin, although to outward appearance we may be able to do it. We cannot actually be united to Christ and the world at the same time. We cannot have Christ for our husband and at the same time be living with the world.
But we can take the name of Christ and at the same time retain the sins of the flesh. But the law will not justify a person who does this--who takes the name of the one man and at the same time lives with another. The law of God does not justify us in taking the name of Christ and in living in union with the body of sin? No, certainly not.
Here again we find how the law is guarded at every step in this matter of justification by faith in Christ. Here every possibility is cut off for a person to say--I am Christ's and Christ is mine and no matter what I do, it is Christ that does it in me. No, that is not so. We cannot charge any sin to Christ: He is not responsible for any sin, for the law does not justify us in committing any sin. So we see that justification by faith is nothing else but bringing a person into perfect conformity to the law. Justification by faith does not make any provision for transgression of the law.
But we will proceed to consider the case of those who have been unconscious of the claims of the law, while professing it. Paul speaks to those who know the law and who make their boast in the law and profess to exalt the law and at the same time they are so blind to the requirements of the law that they have thought they could profess Christ and live in sin. It is not always those who profess to fear that the honor of the law will be lowered that realize its claims to the fullest extent. Some have even preached the law and have at the same time thought that they could live in the indulgence of the lusts of the flesh, while thinking that they were united with Christ.
Now Christ has been set before us and we see that we cannot be united to Christ and the body of sin at the same time. Then we say that we will give up that first husband--the body of sin and become united with Christ. But how can we get free from this body of sin--this first husband? We cannot cause it to die by simply saying that we wish it were dead. The woman who has a loathing in her heart for her husband, because he is a brutal tyrant, cannot cause herself to be separated from him by simply desiring it. It is a good thing to want to serve Christ, if we have counted the cost and know that we are sick and tired of the old life and want to begin a new life and live with Christ for when we come to that point we can easily find out how it can be done.
Christ comes to us and He proposes a union with us. That is lawful, because He is the only one who really has any claim upon us, and therefore while we are living in this base connection with the body of sin, He can lawfully come to us and beg us to be united with Him. But here we are united with this body of sin, and the law will not justify us in becoming united to Christ till that body of sin is dead.
For note again what is implied in the figure of the marriage. When two persons are united in marriage, they become one flesh. This is a mystery. Paul says that it is, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." This is the thought that is held before us in this figure of marriage. For we twain--ourselves and the flesh--are so completely joined together that we are no longer twain but one flesh, and our life is just one.
Look back over your life and see if there is any time in it where you can see that it has been separated from sin. It has been a life of sin. Sin has ever been a part of your life. We have only one life, and that has been sin. Therefore, so closely have we been united with sin, that there has been only one life between us--we twain have been one flesh. Then the only way by which we can get rid of this body of sin--which is one with us, is to die too. That is how it is that the apostle says--that we are become dead to the law by the body of Christ. For that union with the flesh was really unlawful, and the law had a claim against us for that union. It will put us to death for that union. We are dead in Christ, and the body of sin dies also.
In chapter six we read, "Our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed." Christ in His own flesh bare our sins in His body on the tree. He takes our sins that they may be crucified with Him, that the body of sin may be destroyed. We consent to die. We acknowledge that our life is forfeited to the law and that the law has a just claim upon us. Then we voluntarily give up our lives so that this hated body of sin may die. We loath the union with it so much that we are willing to die in order that it may die too.
"Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Therefore as we die with Christ, we are raised also with Christ. But Christ is not the minister of sin, so while he will crucify the body of sin, He will not raise it again, and the body of sin is destroyed. Thus we rise, the union between us and Christ complete, that henceforth we should bring forth fruit unto God.
"Now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held." What is dead? The body of sin! It was because we were united to that body of sin that the law had somewhat against us. Notice: God does not have any hatred against us. God does not have any desire to punish us, but He cannot endure sin. His law must condemn sin, and since we have identified ourselves with sin, so that we were one with it, in condemning sin, he necessarily condemned us, and so long as we lived a life of sin, that condemnation necessarily rested upon us. But as we have already shown, we have a choice as to when we will die, and we have chosen to voluntarily give up our lives to Him, while we can have His life instead.
When our lives have been given up to the law, the claim that the law had against us is satisfied, because now, the body of sin being dead, we are delivered from the law, just as the woman whose husband is dead, is loosed from the law of her husband, so that she can be united to another. But the same law that held her to that first husband unites her to the second. So it is in this case. The same law that bound us to the body of sin now witnesses to our union with Christ. Romans 3:21. That perfect law witnesses to the union with Christ and justifies it. And so long as we remain in Christ, it justifies us in that union, showing that union with Christ is conformity to the law.
And the power of Christ is able to hold us in that union. "Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." Romans 6:8. We became united to Christ in the act of death. By that death, the bond that united us with our first husband--the body of sin--was broken; the body of sin was destroyed, and now we rise with Christ.
We believe that we shall live with Him? Why do people get married? That they may live together. Then, because we have been united by death with Christ, we believe that now since we are risen with Him, we shall live with Him. Notice further--when two are united, they two are no longer twain but one flesh. Christ "makes in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace." Ephesians 2:15. We are His, Christ and we are one, and therefore together we make one new man. Now who is the one? Christ is the one.
Well might Paul say, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Galatians 2:20. It is Christ now, not we. Thus we are the representatives of Christ on earth. This is why Christ in His prayer in the garden prayed that "they may be made perfect in one: and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
How may the world know this? From the Bible? No, for the world does not read the Bible, and therefore God hath put us in the world as the light of the world. The Bible is a light and a lamp, but not to those who do not take it. We take the word of Christ; we feed upon it in spirit and bring Christ into our hearts and thus effect the union, and then the light shines forth to the world, and the world knows that Christ has been sent as a divine Saviour.
We pass over a few verses. The apostle shows that while the motions of sins were by the law, it is not because the law is sinful but because the law is holy. By the law is the knowledge of sin. Paul was once alive in carnal security, serving God, he thought; but when the commandment came, then sin abounded, and he died; and this law which was ordained for life, because it justifies the obedient, he found had nothing but death for him, because he had not really been obeying it. That is why he says, "The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good."
But note: Before this time Paul had been one who honored the law; he had made his boast in the law, and therefore he writes to those who know the law--to those who have been striving with all their might to keep the law, and yet, they are the ones who have to be delivered from the law. Why? Because while making their boast in the law, through breaking it, they dishonored God.
Now we shall still serve, but how? Not the way we did before, in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the spirit. That means that our very service to the law is something that we have got to be delivered from. Why? Because it has been simply a forced service; it has been simply the oldness of the letter; there has not been spirit and life in it. It has not been of Christ, therefore it has been sin. We boasted in the law, and we professed to keep the law, yet that very service was sin, and we must be delivered from that kind of service to the law, to serve in the right way. so now we serve in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
In the latter part of the chapter, the apostle shows what that oldness of the letter is from which we must be delivered. "I am carnal, sold under sin." We do great violence to the apostle Paul, that holy man, when we say that in this he is relating his own Christian experience. He is not writing his own experience now that he is united with Christ. He is writing the experience of those who serve, but in the oldness of the letter, and while professedly serving God, are carnal, and sold under sin.
A person sold under bondage is a slave. What is the evidence of this slavery? "For what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. . . . For the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do." Have we ever had any such experience as that in our so-called Christian experience? Yes. We have fought, but with all our fighting, did we keep the law? No. We have made a failure and it is written upon every page of our lives. It is a constant service, but at the same time it is a constant failure.
I fail; I make a new resolution--I break it, and then I get discouraged, then make another resolution and break that again. We cannot make ourselves do the thing we want to do by making a resolution. We do not want to sin, but we do sin all the time. We make up our minds we will not fall under that temptation again, and we don't--till the next time it comes up, and then we fall as before.
When in this condition, can we say that we have hope and that we "rejoice in hope of the glory of God"? We do not hear such testimonies--it is solely of what we want to do and what we have failed to do but intend to do in the future. If a person has the law before him and acknowledges that it is good and yet does not keep its precepts, is his sin any less in the sight of God than the sin of the man who cares nothing for the law? No.
What is the difference between the would-be Christian, who knows the law, but does not keep it and the worldling who does not keep the law and does not acknowledge that it is good? Simply this: We are unwilling slaves and they are willing slaves. We are all the time distracted and sorrowful and getting nothing out of life at all, while the worldling does not worry himself in the least.
If one is going to sin, is it not better to be the worldling who does not know that there is such a thing as liberty than to be the man who knows that there is liberty but cannot get it? If it has got to be slavery, if we must live in the sins of the world, then it is better to be in the world, partaking of its pleasures, than to be in a miserable bondage and have no hope of a life to come.
But thanks be unto God, we can have liberty. When life becomes unbearable because of the bondage of sin, then it is that we may hope, for that leads to the question, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Mark: There is deliverance. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Christ came that we might have life. In Him is life. He is full of life, and when we are so sick of this body of death that we are willing to die to get rid of it, then we can yield ourselves to Christ and die in Him, and with us dies the body of death. Then we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life, but Christ who is not the minister of sin will not raise up the body of sin; so it is destroyed, and we are free.
Let all your sinful passions go and believe that Christ will give you something so much better than they are that you will have an unspeakable joy. Not only will there be joy now, but there will be joy through all eternity, a song of joy for the precious gift that He has given.
Christ has condemned sin in the flesh and by faith we take Him and live with Him. That is a blessed life. Take hold of Christ by faith and live with Him.
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